We all know that if we wish to grow in our careers, we need to go outside our comfort zone and embrace new challenges and responsibilities at work. Especially in warehouse and manufacturing environments, it's very common to see people joining the company in entry level positions and then developing a career by taking on new duties, many of those professionals become managers at a later stage. But whether you’re looking for a salary increase, promotion, or just proactively seeking opportunities to develop new skills, asking your boss for more responsibility can be a delicate task.
While you want to get prepared for the next stage in your career and take on new activities, you also want to make sure you're actually doing a good job with your current scope of work. Remember that you're adding these new tasks to your workload and you need to keep a high level of performance.
Know the skills you want to develop
Before you speak to your boss, think carefully so you know what responsibilities will drive you to where you want to go. If you're looking for a promotion, ask your line manager if you can take one of their responsibilities or assist them directly on something, you can also ask for a special project or an activity where you can lead a team. If you're aiming to move to a another department, assess if there's any possibilities for you to develop a project with them or if you can shadow a colleague's work, don't forget to make it clear to your boss that you'd like to progress in your career in a new area and ask if they can support you on this path.
Free up your time as much as you can
As said above, asking for new responsibilities means you're adding new tasks to your workload. In order for you to ensure you still manage to deliver a high quality work, it's important for you to assess if any of your current tasks can be delegated to someone else in your team. This is not about unloading undesirable tasks onto someone else, it's an opportunity for you to help another colleague grow as well. If there is room for that, take this route.
Remember to serve the company's interests too
While you may have the opportunity to develop yourself in the work environment, keep in mind that from an employer point of view, your request to gain more responsibilities needs to make sense from a business perspective too. In other words, your employer needs to gain something here too. So now that you know the skills you want to obtain, think about how these new skills will benefit your employer - and if you're creating a new project to develop these skills, think about how this project will have a positive impact in the company. Any time you’re asking to take on new responsibilities, you should be able to articulate how that will deliver positive results to both you and those signing your paycheck.
Choose your timing
Knowing how to read the environment where you're working is key. If it's a delicate moment in the company and your manager is dealing with layoffs, this is not the best time to have this type of conversation. If your manager is dealing with a high workload and could use some help, if you know the company is expanding or a new position will become available and you're interested in being considered for that role, then it might be a good time to talk to your manager about your professional possibilities. Any time that you're having a performance review with your manager can be a great opportunity to have this type of conversation too.
Choose your words wisely
If you have the four other topics above covered and you feel that you're ready to have this conversation, it's now time for you to think about how to do it. First, keep in mind that you're not telling your manager what to do. Before even heading to this conversation, be conscious that you're actually pitching an idea to your employer. Saying that you'd like to discuss some ideas for the department (or for the company) sounds better than saying you'd like to discuss your career. Be crystal clear about your idea, goals and how this will benefit not only you, but also the company. Expect some pushback and if they happen, ask questions to understand the concerns. This is a conversation and it's important for you to sign that you're trying to figure out how to make it work. If possible, try to foresee the potential pushbacks your idea might get and go to this conversation with options - be ready to share an option B, C and D. And last but definitely not least, don't forget that your manager is usually handling a lot of other important topics and that this conversation is just one of the things they have in mind now. Don't expect immediate answers. Instead, make a proposal to connect again in a week or two to review those ideas.
Career progression conversations can be tricky but even when the outcome is not the one you desired, you will definitely learn some lessons for the next time you need to approach this topic. If you're looking for a fantastic team to join and progress with your career, check out the available positions we have at Shiftfillers today!